Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Hair product picks - Winter 2013

Continuing on this series of blog posts on my product picks for the season, this post is focused on hair products which have caught my eye recently.  Again, I haven't tried all of these, so would love to hear your thoughts on these products if you have tried them.

Hair Care, Treatment & Styling Products

With my massive struggles with eczema and dermatitis on my scalp this winter, I am staying away from anything with sulfates - both SLS and SLES.  I have been alternating between two different shampoo & conditioner brands - Silk Oil of Morocco and David Babaii.

Interestingly, I have oily hair with drier ends, so I never thought that I would ever use a hydrating shampoo.  If anything, I thought that they would make my hair oilier.  However, I have been proven wrong with both of these brands - none of them left my scalp oily.  If anything, I have better volume and better control of my hair.

Silk Oil of Morocco Intense Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner
variable prices, TVSN and oilofmoroccoshop.com.au

This Australian brand is producing some great quality products, including this shampoo & conditioner, which have been a great help over winter.  Look out for my full review soon.

All the info from Silk Oil of Morocco

Silk Oil of Morocco Intense Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser that leaves your hair feeling luxuriously sleek and smooth with its combination of oil balancing Argan Oil and moisture retaining Macadamia Nut Oil. Its sulphate-free formulation works in synergy with these precious oils to ensure there is no harshness, stripping or drying of the scalp. The ultimate hair treatment in your home.

Silk Oil of Morocco Intense Moisture Conditioner thoroughly softens and hydrates the hair and its natural formulation ensures maximum protection for your hair and scalp. The combination of oil balancing Argan Oil and moisture infusing Macadamia Nut Oil provides the perfect solution for soft, healthy, luxurious hair. The ultimate hair treatment in your home.

  • Doesn't leave 'Build Up' on the Hair
  • Leaves No 'Residue' on the Hair
  • Gives you 'Vibrant Shine'
  • Makes your Hair 'Silky Soft'
  • Seals in 'Shine'
  • Used regularly 'Increases Elasticity'
  • Penetrates the 'Cuticle'
  • Suitable for ALL hair types

David Babaii Absolute Hydration Shampoo & Conditioner
RRP $19.95, davidbabaii.com.au, Priceline stores nationally and TVSN

I haven't used David Babaii products for some time now, but it's always great to use them again.  I purchased a pack of products, which included the Absolute Hydration & Conditioner, and I hope to review them all down the track in more detail..  David Babaii is a world famous celebrity hairstylist, who donates a significant amount of profits from this range to WildAid.  This range is actually made in Australia (yay!), and has recently undergone a major transformation in both packaging and formulation.

All the info from David Babaii

Absolute Hydration Shampoo and Absolute Hydration ConditionerA beauty bath for thirsty hair. Formulated using Moringa and Jojoba Oil, the creamy lather works to replenish the hair’s natural moisture balance to create lustrous radiance. Aloe Vera extracts and Wheat Proteins strengthen and nourish. Phyto Stem Cell extract is incorporated to revitalize damaged tresses.


Hair Colour Products

There are few products that have been released this year to help make colouring and the period in between colouring a bit easier. 

ColorWOW Root Cover Up
RRP $49.95 at Hairhouse Warehouse.  Also available at TVSN (variable prices)

I saw this product featured on TVSN and it looks impressive.  It's a touch up product for re-growth of not only block colour, but also highlights and streaks.  I like the design of the brush in this palette - it has a dual end, and you can use the brush either along its length or width depending on the type of application you want.  It is available in 4 colours - blonde, light brown, medium brown and dark brown.  

All the info from ColorWOW

For the first time you can cover up dreaded roots and re-growth quickly and easily – with no mess – for perfect results in under a minute. Color Wow Root Cover Up not only covers roots seamlessly, but even camouflages re-growth in lightened/highlighted hair.

Keep your hair in a permanent state of perfection! This unique, professional powder styling compound adheres to hair without being sticky or oily and without dulling. Dramatically extend the time between coloring…No telltale roots means no one will ever know that you color your hair!

• Apply to dry hair 
• Camouflage roots instantly
• Color hair less often 
• Fast & easy; No mess 
• Perfect results in under a minute 
• Water-resistant 
• Lasts from shampoo to shampoo 
• Available in 4 versatile shades 
• Professional formula 
• 60 Application kit

For best results: Start with dry/styled hair. The enclosed dual-tipped brush lets you customize your Cover Up application. Apply to roots, starting at the scalp and working out. Repeat until roots disappear. Then apply to temples and any other grey hair as needed.

Root Cover Up can also be used to extend the life of highlights/streaks. Using the small side of the brush, apply to re-growth until roots are camouflaged.

Schwarzkopf Ultimate Colour 

In recent years, I have chosen to colour my hair at home rather than going to the salon.  So have always been on the lookout for a product that is easy to apply, and easy to reapply when needed for regrowth.  So when I saw the new Schwarzkopf Ultimate Colour available, I thought I would give it ago. 

It is a mousse formulation, that has 2 separate chambers - one with the colour and one with the developer.  When you press the pump, it dispenses a bit out of each chamber, which you mix in your hand.  Because the two components are separate, the product can be reused again in up to 6 months.  I have actually recently coloured my hair with it, and will post a separate detailed review soon.

All the info from Schwarzkopf

A Hair Colour Revolution

Ultimate Colour is the first ever multi-usage permanent colour foam, which can be applied without mixing and can be used more than once. This groundbreaking new product will take the stress and mess out of home hair colouring. The multiple application design means that Ultimate Colour will provide one full-head application and one regrowth application after four weeks. The remaining unused product can easily be stored until needed for an exact colour match. Not only will Schwarzkopf Ultimate Colour give you vibrant, salon standard colour, but also an intensive care conditioner with liquid keratin that regenerates the hair structure for strong and healthy looking shine.

Hair styling tools & accessories

Most of the time, I wear my hair up in some way, shape or form.  I have curly/wavy hair which I tend to straighten every time, as I find it is much easier to style and place in an up style, whether that be a ponytail or a bun.  However, having thick hair makes it frustrating sometimes to be able to get my hair up in place and have it look neat and tidy, and also get it to stay like that for a few hours.  So I am always on the lookout for styling tools and accessories which make this process easier.

A brand called Scunci have a great range of hair accessories to help create different hair looks.  One particular product that has caught my eye are the Scunci Pin Twirls (RRP $9.95), which help to create an updo (such as a bun) and keep it securely in place.  

For a full review of these Scunci products, click here

Their range also includes products such as No Slip Grip Bobby Pins (RRP $8.95) and No Damage Elastics (RRP $7.95).

Scunci products are available in Priceline, Big W, Target & selected Salons & Pharmacies Australia wide. Scunci Styling Tools are also available in David Jones.

Have you tried any of the products mentioned?  Let me know below!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

OPI Euro Centrale Collection - review & swatches

Euro Centrale was OPI's spring/summer 2013 collection launch.  The location inspiration for this collection centres around central-eastern European locations, like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  There is a bit of a mix of cremes, shimmers, metallic-foil shimmers, and a glitter. 

All the info from OPI

Euro Centrale by OPI is a celebration of one of the world’s richest sources of creative talent for centuries, and especially one of the areas of cultural awakening emerging from this region: fashion. Gothic historical churches alongside modern public buildings punctuated with vibrant graffiti murals are the perfect backdrop for modern fashion design to make its entrance. Young designers present their most avant-garde creations at fashion shows held in museums, designs to rival anything from Paris or Milan.

This fusion of "old meets new" perfectly illustrates how times have changed. Technological advances help us achieve the "have it all" lifestyle – family, career, civic duty, and now, what has become most fundamental — time to nourish ourselves, with a stronger focus on nutrition, exercise, and spiritual growth. As a result, our lives have become fuller, richer. We are no longer defined so much by what we do for a living, but how we live, including how we colour our lives to reflect our passions.

For some, it’s glamour that defines us. It shines outward in the way bold metallics shine in luxurious shades of gold (OY–Another Polish Joke!), bronze (Hands Off My Kielbasa!), and copper (A Woman’s Prague-ative).

For others, we were born to play – whether it’s physical sports, playing with our families, or simply having a playful attitude. We live in bright, happy shades like warm pink (Suzi’s Hungary AGAIN!), periwinkle purple (You’re Such a BudaPest), aqua (Can’t Find My Czechbook), fiery red (My Paprika is Hotter than Yours!), and glittery blues and violets (Polka.com).

And then there are those of us with an "indie" approach to life, deep thinkers who are drawn to colours just as profound. Bottomless ocean indigo (OPI...Eurso Euro), midnight blue (I Saw…U Saw…We Saw…Warsaw), and aubergine (Vant to Bite My Neck?) appeal to us. Finally, some of us choose to remain neutral, allowing us to move freely through the world, but for them, neutral isn’t boring...it’s exciting (My Vampire is Buff)!

As significant as colour, nail design continues to be an important element in fashion, acting as accessories as prominent as jewelry. By experimenting with application designs and exploring in new directions, nail fashion heights are limited only by imagination and daring.

My Review & Swatches

You're Such A Budapest

This could either be described as pale lilac with a slight blue undertone, or periwinkle   It has a very subtle silver shimmer through it, but it isn't visible on the nails, so it ultimately looks like a creme shade. 

Below is a comparison swatch of some of the other OPI lilac shades I have.  They are all different to You're Such A Budapest.

Rumples Wiggin (index), Done Out In Deco (middle),
You're Such A Budapest (ring), Do You Lilac It (thumb)


L-R: Rumples Wiggin, Done Out In Deco, Do You Lilac It,
You're Such A Budapest


OPI...Eurso Euro

Indigo creme.  It actually photographs more blue than it actually is, but in real life, the purple undertones are more noticeable.  I wish it actually appeared more like this in real life - more blue and vivid.  Still, it's a beautiful colour.


Polka.com (over Your'e Such A Budapest)

Polka.com has a mixture of hexagonal glitter and fine glitter in aqua, pink and a blue with a slight purple undertone, in a clear base.  You can see from my photo that depending on the lighting angle, the glitter can throw variations of shades from the same colour family as the main three colours in the polish.  As with other OPI glitters with the larger pieces of glitter such as the hexagonal pieces, I find that the best way to apply is to lay the brush flat on the nails and dab the glitter on.   I really like this one - when I look at it from a distance, for some reason it reminds me of different colours of paint that have been splattered on a canvas.  

Can't Find My Czechbook

This shade is an aqua creme, but it has a slightly muted and dusty undertone to it, so it isn't overly bright.  Depending on the lighting conditions, it sometimes looks more green toned or more blue toned.

OY-Another Polish Joke!

Yellow gold foil shimmer.  This formula is actually on the sheer side - I have swatched it with 2 coats, but could have easily gone for a 3rd coat for more opacity.   The thing that surprised me with this shade/formulation is that it didn't have that high shine/reflect that I would have normally expected from a shade like this - it's almost matte.

I thought that it might be a dupe of GoldenEye from the Skyfall Collection, but they are different - GoldenEye is less yellow toned and is more dense than OY-Another Polish Joke.  GoldenEye is also more metallic looking, as it has more reflect.

OY-Another Polish Joke
GoldenEye (Skyfall collection)

I found the formula to be great with this collection - everything applied evenly and with intensity.  The foil-shimmer shade was a bit more sheer than I thought, so needs an extra layer or two if you want opacity.  This would be the same for the other foil shimmer shade in the collection (A Woman's Prague-ative).  But overall, the formulation in this collection is good.

Official Website: www.opi.com

Saturday, 20 July 2013

BYS Blush Trio - review, swatches & blush application tips

As I have mentioned in a previous post about blush, I am a self-confessed blush phobic.  I have never been very comfortable wearing blush - firstly due to the natural redness I have on my cheeks, and secondly out of fear of looking like a clown.  However, there is no doubt that blush can make such a huge difference to the face - including giving an instant facelift, so I am slowly trying to wear blush more and more.  I have been doing a bit of learning about blush application, so that I can learn about the best way to apply.  BYS have just released a range of blush trios, which I thought I would give a go as a step forward in my "blush phobia recovery."

All the info from BYS

These new BYS Blushers have a lightweight formula that is highly pigmented and easy to apply.  BYS Blusher Trios are easily blendable allowing you to use one colour alone or blend the three shades ot create a hue of your own.  With this many possibilities you can highlight, define and shade the perfect cheekbones for your skintone.  With 4 palettes in the range, we have covered bronzed and beautiful with Coral Me In, bold and fresh with On The Bright Side, playfully peach with Endless Summer and understated dusky pink shades with Heart Skipped A Beat.

Tips for use: Apply the colours individually or blend them together to create different finishes.  Use the darker shades to create shadows and the lighter shade to highlight, to really emphasise your cheekbones.

My Review

The size of this blush palette is impressive - I was expecting something much smaller, but it's quite a decent size.The colour I have for review is called 'Coral Me In.'  I thought that for someone like me who isn't overly comfortable with blush, a coral or bronze toned blush would be the best choice.  Coral Me In has a tangerine orange, a copper to bronze tone with a subtle golden shimmer, and a red toned coral.  

For each colour, there are two swatches - the left swatch is the colour applied with an eyeshadow brush (which shows the colour densely), and the right swatch is how the colour appears when applied with a blush brush, so this is a more accurate representation of how it will appear on the cheeks.

The tangerine orange shade is much more subtle when applied
with a blush brush - it becomes a peachy/apricot

The middle shade appears bronze in the palette,
but when applied becomes more of a dusty rose

The red coral shade is the most intensely pigmented one -
less is more with this one!

The colours in these blush trios can either be used on their own, or mixed to create the desired shade.  Below is a swatch of the three colours blended together, but because of the intense pigment of the red-coral shade, I only lightly dipped into it.

Combination of the 3 shades

I personally prefer a mixture of the orange and bronzey shade, or the bronzey shade alone, as these are the colours that I feel most comfortable wearing.  I recommend that after dipping the brush into the colour, turn the brush handle-side down and give it a tap - this helps to push the colour into the bristles, and minimise fallout of the blush onto the lower part of the face.  

I like to apply blush by swirling the brush on the apples of the cheek (while smiling), and then heading upward towards the ear.  This way, most of the colour is deposited on the apple of the cheek, and you get just a slight hint of the blush on the cheekbone, and don't get that round spot of blush on the cheek only (which can potentially give a clown-face look).  I also find that if you apply a bit of blush further away from the apples of the cheeks, it takes away the pure focus from the cheeks.  I also like to use a wide, soft bristled powder brush, as this helps give a lighter application.

The middle bronzey copper shade
applied over mineral powder foundation

The verdict: A nicely pigmented trio of blush colour, which is generous in size, so that a blush brush can easily be dipped into each individual colour, or can be blended to produce the desired colour.  The red-coral in this palette might not be for someone who is starting out with using blush, but the orange and the bronze shade are more softer, and can be applied lightly or built up to a more intense colour.  

Stockists: K-Mart, Gloss Accessories, Cosmetics Plus, Ice Accessories, selected pharmacies and specialty stores, or online at www.fashionaddict.com.au  

Official Website: www.bys.com.au

These products were generously provided for consideration, and has been reviewed in accordance with Chic Beauty's Disclosure Policy.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are the author's own.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Glam by Manicare Express Nail Wraps 'Lace Me Up' - review

The hugely popular nail art trend just keeps on keeping on.  In fact, these days I almost feel 'dull' if I have all of my nails painted in the same block colour - I need to have at least one accent nail, or a bit of a reverse moon French mani.  But one area that I haven't delved into much is the area of nail apps & nail polish apps.  I have tried apps made out of real polish, so though it it was time to try some of the apps which aren't the nail polish type, one of which is the the Glam by Manicare Express Nail Wraps.

All the info from Manicare - Glam by Manicare Express Nail Wraps in 'Lace Me Up'

Get your nails looking hot and celebrity like with Glam Express! Nail Wraps.  Go from day to night with 2 trendy patterns or mix and match to express your daring side.

Trend Alert: Black Lace

Runway favourites like Valentino and Lanvin were all about the black lace on recent international runways.  Take one of winter's most romantic trends onto your fingertips with Glam By Manicare's Nail Wrap - Lace Me Up.

RRP: $9.95

My Review

The first thing that I really like about these nail wraps is that you get 2 different designs in each pack.  This pack contains the black lace design, and also a floral design with small crystal like embellishments, and both designs have transparent sections in them.  You get 20 pieces of each design in the pack (so a total of 40 pieces), as well as a cuticle stick and nail file.

Application directions are clearly printed on the back of the pack:
1. Start with clean nails.  Shape & file the nails and gently push back cuticles.
2. Select size that fits your nail.
3. Placed curved end onto the nail.  Apply near but not on cuticle.  Press and smooth over nail surface.
4. Cut or file off any excess nail wrap in downward motion.
5. Apply top coat for a long lasting result.
6. To remove, use polish remover and gently peel off.

I found that because each strip contained a single row of 10 wraps, it was easy to be able to guide the strip over the nail to determine the appropriate size.  The main issue I have with nail apps is that I have short nails, and also a small nail bed width.  So when it came to my small finger, I had to do a bit of trimming down with even the smallest sized wrap.

In terms of application ease, I found these a bit easier to work with in terms of being able to re-position the nail wrap, which is one of the benefits of using a nail app that isn't made out of real polish.  With the real polish nail apps, because they are thinner, it's difficult to lift it up again and re-position it.  Having said that, the real polish nail apps do sit more snug onto the nail bed.  

For some reason, I had issues getting the lace design app to sit evenly over my nail - it looked like there were little bumps here and there.  However, the floral design in this pack not only applied easier, but sat evenly and snug over the nail.  I actually thought that the floral design (having the little embellishments on it) would not have applied as evenly as the lace design.  But it turned out to be completely the opposite!  And being right handed, and having to apply these with my left hand, it actually wasn't very difficult, because the floral design apps applied so much easier than the lace design.

I loved both the designs in this pack though, and I think that the floral design one is perfect for someone who has wanted to add bits of bling to their nails, but haven't felt confident (or haven't had the patience) to do so.  I almost felt bad having to cut the floral wrap with the gorgeous embellishments on it, but it turned out that I ended up with a row of these little crystals on the free edge of my nail, which looked quite nice.

Having short nails, the nail wraps required quite a bit of trimming.  So I used scissors to cut along the edge of the nail - I found that the filing method didn't work for me.  Just a tip though - make sure that you use very sharp scissors when cutting these apps down to size - on a couple of my nails, the scissors weren't quite sharp enough and they cut out a little segment of the nail wrap from the free edge section of my nail.  

I applied a layer of top coat, which helped seal everything in and minimised the chances of the edges catching and lifting.  I actually found this step to be very important, as the nails wraps which were sealed well with top coat hadn't lifted after 3 to 4 days of wear, whereas some of the others had started to come off on the edges.  However, I expected these to start lifting off within 24 hours (after all the hand washing, cooking, dishwashing and showering etc) - but they didn't. So  I think that if applied well, these can last a few days on the nails. 

Overall, I think it took me about 45 minutes to apply the nail wraps on both hands.  I removed mine on the 4th day of wear, and they peeled off easily without causing any damage to the nail.  

The verdict:  A fantastic way to get some great nail art designs on the nail without the mess or fuss.  The two different designs in each pack allows you to mix and match if you want.  I recommend using very sharp scissors for trimming down, and applying an even top coat after application.  The designs in this particular pack are something I would go back to over and over again - really eye-catching.

Stockists: Priceline & selected pharmacies

Official website: www.glambymanicare.com

These products were generously provided for consideration, and has been reviewed in accordance with Chic Beauty's Disclosure Policy.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are the author's own.

Monday, 1 July 2013

AVEENO Stress Relief Moisturising Lotion - review

After the great results I had with the original AVEENO Daily Moisturising Lotion (review here), I couldn't miss the opportunity to try the AVEENO Stress Relief Moisturising Lotion.  Unlike the original lotion, which had the natural scent of colloidal oatmeal, this lotion has added scents of lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang, aimed at providing a sense of calm and relaxation.

All the info from AVEENO

Lavender, chamomile and ylang-ylang are scents known to promote relaxation.  The AVEENO Stress Relief range has incorporated these essences into formulations rich in natural colloidal oatmeal so your body is moisturised, cared for and relaxed - calming the body and the mind.

Whilst the practice of aromatherapy has been valued for its positive effects on the mind, body and spirit for centuries, AVEENO has fused this ancient practice with that of another, the use of oatmeal, a popular ingredient used by the ancient Romans and Greeks whom frequented oat baths to soothe skin ailments.  The combination of oatmeal and calming ingredients ensures AVEENO Stress Relief works to soothe skin and hold in moisture - providing a more holistic approach to skin health.

In fact, 85% of participants in a recent study noted that the AVEENO Stress Relief products help them to feel more calm and relaxed.

AVEENO Stress Relief Moisturising Lotion: This fast-absorbing, moisturising lotion helps to calm and relax as you massage it into your skin and is clinically proven to moisturise for a full 24 hours.  This non-greasy formula with the soothing properties of natural colloidal oatmeal provides long-lasting moisture.

RRP: $12.99 (354mL pump bottle)

My Review

As with the original AVEENO Moisturising Lotion, the Stress Relief Lotion has the same great properties that I loved about it - it has a great consistency (not too thin), distributes over the skin  really easily (so can easily be used to massage), and it absorbs right in without a greasy residue.  My skin feels soft and hydrated even after washing, and the dry and aggravated feeling on my skin (thanks to the cold weather and excessive hot water use!) is helped significantly.

In terms of the scent - it's actually not what I thought it would be like.  It doesn't have that 'typical' lavender scent that you would think of, nor do I smell any significant ylang-ylang or chamomile.  To me, it smells like a very fresh, slightly floral scent - it's very modern, and not a 'girly' floral scent.  In fact, my brother has helped himself to this lotion a few times, as he also suffers from eczema on his hands, and he thinks it smells nice - and so does my sister-in-law and my mum.  Whenever I have this lotion on my skin, I get comments about that 'nice scent' - and it really is.  So it's not a subtle scent, and if I have this lotion on areas where it is exposed (like my hands), then find that I don't really need to wear any additional fragrance. 

So in terms of providing a relaxing and calming feeling, for me it's not so much that I get that lavender type scent, but more because it's just a really nice scent - it makes me feel good (and smell good!).

The verdict:  This lotion has the same skin soothing properties as the original formula, as well as the same great absorbing, non-greasy texture.  Although it is fragranced with lavender, chamomile and ylang-ylang, don't expect a 'traditional' scent, however the scent is really beautiful and modern.

Stockists: Pharmacies & Priceline nationwide

Official Website: www.aveeno.com.au

These products were generously provided for consideration, and has been reviewed in accordance with Chic Beauty's Disclosure Policy.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are the author's own.